My Favourite Things to Read Online

I am guilty, as I believe many of us are these days, of spending a fair amount of my spare time reading online. Blogs, articles, news sites and, the favourite of any procrastinator, Wikipedia.

I have made it a personal goal to try and restrict this a bit more. I should be spending more time doing my own writing or just doing anything that’s a bit more productive. That’s not to say I want to cut it out altogether, just a bit. Online articles can be informative, inspirational and amusing. With that in mind, here are my favourite sites to read:

I Fucking Love Science. Written in a usually lighter tone and with citations in abundance, I find it an enjoyable and trustworthy source for science news. It’s articles are often about debunking common myths, for example the lies spread by many anti-vaccination campaigners.

Seychelles Mama. I bet most of us at some time or another have thought how awesome it would be to pack up and move somewhere tropical. Well, this lady and her family did just that. This blog is all about the realities of being expats in the Seychelles, both the pros (there are some gorgeous photos) and the cons (of which there aren’t many!).

Words from the Corner. This is actually written by my own Hubby. He started a blog in the New Year (definitely not a resolution, he makes clear) and writes on various topics. I know I’m his wife so you might think my opinion is a bit biased but really it’s good stuff. I think my favourite so far was his post on the apparently not so universal appeal of music.

Rules of Play. This is actually the blog of an independent games shop located in the shopping arcades of central Cardiff. While we lived much closer to the city centre, we could probably be found in there at least once a fortnight. Sadly, moving further out means that we visit much less regularly. However, this blog not only offers updates on the new titles they’re stocking but also suggestions of new games to try. If you’re a fan of tabletop games, even if you’re not in Cardiff, I’d suggest reading this.

Cardiff Mummy Says. A brilliant parenting blog in any case but particularly handy for me as it includes regular lists of stuff to do around Cardiff. I often look at this when I’m a bit stuck for something to do or feel like I’ve already tried everything Cardiff has to offer (I never actually have!)

So those are my favourites blogs. For news, I generally favour BBC. I know every now and then they get told off for claims of being biased but most of the time, I feel like I can trust them to give the facts, though even then I’m very cautious. With fake news being so widespread these days, I like to check sources and facts for any piece of news I hear, wherever it comes from. Fake news has stopped being about celebrity gossip and moved quickly in the realms of actually affecting politics. So it’s important to be properly informed.

Just to end with a little shameless self promotion, if you often find you’re stuck for something to read, the Bubele newsletter is released every fortnight and always has a few things going on in your area, plus competitions and a suggested article to read. Go and sign up!

Thanks for reading.

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Another Day, Another Year

So another year has begun. Goodbye 2016, hello 2017.

Don’t panic, this isn’t yet another internet rant about how terrible 2016 was and how, somehow, 2017 will be so much better.

Actually 2016 wasn’t bad for me personally. Yes, terrible things happened globally and I did feel sad about them but some pretty great stuff happened to me. I graduated from university. I got some ongoing paid writing work. I stopped taking anti-depressant medication. My workplace allowed me to dye my hair pink (and indeed a whole range of other colours that I’ve got my eye on).

In fact, I feel a little unsure about 2017. I’m heading into a year where I don’t have any guaranteed opportunities for achievement. There’s nothing big on the horizon. That’s a little daunting, especially when everyone else is so determined that their 2017 is going to be so bloody brilliant. I feel like I too should be super positive and excited at the new opportunities apparently afforded by a new year beginning.

Instead, if I’m honest, I’m feeling a bit down today. Christmas is over. The tree is coming down tomorrow. We’ll all be back in our usual work and school routine on Tuesday. My daughter is pretty excited about that. She’ll get to see her friends and tell them all about her new bike and all the other cool stuff she got. Meanwhile I’m trying to summon up the motivation to fit some exercise and writing into the cold, empty months that the start of any year inevitably bring.

So yeah. Perhaps not quite the upbeat, fresh start post of New Year optimism people will expect or even want. But there it is.

I genuinely do hope you all have a good 2017 though. Cheers for reading my bleak thoughts. I promise to make the next post a little perkier.

 

Catch up: An Ending and a Beginning

So it’s been a pretty busy time around here.

Pip turned seven a few weeks ago. We had a family event for the actual day; just a little tea party with some visiting relatives. Then the following weekend, she had a few friends over for another tea party. This was an opportunity (excuse might be a more accurate term) for me to design personalised placemats and invitations and little thank you notes to go into the party bags. I hadn’t quite anticipated just how much noise a few six & seven year old girls could make but still, a good time was had by all.

Then last weekend, I attended my graduation ceremony at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay. It was brilliant. I will admit to being slightly nervous that I might trip and fall straight into the orchestra pit in front of the stage but I actually managed to avoid this, which really felt like as much of an achievement as attaining a degree. The robes were a little awkward but overall, made me feel a bit like a student at Hogwarts rather than the Open University. Anyone who knows me will know how happy that made me. Husband was graduating at the same time and looked extremely dignified in his robes, which didn’t keep slipping off like mine did. I’m not the kind of person to feel very proud of myself about anything but I genuinely felt rather smug for nearly a whole day. After six years of hard work, I think I was entitled to that.

Just before my graduation, I got a tweet, totally out of the blue, about a rather exciting opportunity. Long story short, I’m now the local editor for the Bubele newsletter for Cardiff. It’s fortnightly and I promise it’ll be packed with fun stuff for families in the Cardiff area. My first newsletter will be emailed out on 2nd November so do sign up! Bubele is also an app with lots of listings for family fun throughout the UK – I recommend downloading it and signing up for whichever newsletter covers your area. I certainly like having activities lined up, equally for the school holidays and for those long weeks of monotonous routine in between so I really feel like this is a useful tool for any parent.

I’m feeling uncharacteristically positive about all of the above. My little girl is getting ever bigger and brighter and more brilliantly unique. I’ve achieved something I never thought I’d be able to. I’ve got a new opportunity for writing more. Everything’s just bloody marvellous!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Fresh Start: Less uni, more blog

FullSizeRender 3I have finally finished my university studies!

Ok, I haven’t had the results back so I have yet to actually get my degree but still, my final assessment has been submitted!

In one sense, it’s a big relief and I’m feeling rather pleased with myself. Six years of hard work is over and now I’m reaping the benefits. I might not have the certificate in my hands just yet, but I feel like I’ve learnt so much and really gained a lot of confidence from studying. It’s been a genuinely worthwhile, fulfilling experience.

In another sense, I’m feeling a bit daunted. I’m not a student anymore. And it’s more than just paying full price at the cinema. There’s a big empty space in my very identity. A part of my life has just ended and I’m looking forward to the rest of it and, professionally speaking, it’s a bit of a blank page right now. And any writer knows how terrifying those are.

But I do have ideas. Lots of ideas. Blogging ideas and novel writing ideas (and even a synopsis at the ready!). Now I’ve got time for it, I really want to throw myself into it and give it my best shot.

You’ll be seeing a lot more of me around here from now on!

 

 

 

 

I’ll be back soon!

So I haven’t posted anything on here in ages. I’m not happy about it but it’s just not been possible. I’m in the last little bit of my university degree and there’s lots of pressure on the last couple of essays.

The good news is that by the end of May, it’ll all be done. I’ll have my degree!

In June, I plan on getting straight back into my blog. I’ve really missed it and I’m looking forward to having a lot more time for writing.

So bye for now and I’ll be back in June! Have a lovely spring everyone!

Desk Tour

We’ve been doing lots of reorganisation in our home recently. This has included myself and Husband getting a new desk each. I haven’t had my own desk in a few years so this is pretty exciting to me. We purchased the desks from IKEA. We’ve got them arranged together to almost form one desk. It means we can easily chat to each other but still have separate spaces to ourselves.

We’ve added a shelving unit, again from IKEA, for our HP Envy printer and shared stationary stuff. We’ve bought some lovely decorative and organisational bits and pieces for our desks. Now that I’ve got my own desk to put it on, I’ve made a board on Pinterest of accessories for it. Check it out here!

Having a study space will be very useful for my final uni course. It’s always been a bit of a struggle finding quiet places in the apartment to study so this will solve that problem nicely. If you want to see a whole tour of our new desk setup, I’ve made a video of it as part of my introductory vlog video – take a look!

Thanks for reading. If you have any inspiring desk setup ideas, I’d love to hear them!

A Brief Explanation of my Blogging Break

Hello all.

I have not posted on here in about a month now. I have not abandoned this blog or anything. I am simply very busy with work, revising for an important university exam and lots of other bits and pieces that are taking up pretty much all of my time at the moment.

My exam is at the beginning of June and after that, I am committed to posting much more regularly. I’m also going to start vlogging too, which is pretty exciting. In between revision and building new furniture (more on that another time) and family stuff etc, I have made a very long list of things I’m going to blog about once I have time to do so.

I promise there’ll be more posts coming soon!